Rodents In Chicago: Addressing The Problems

There are only a handful of rodents that get into Chicago properties. We have common house rodents like the house mouse and the roof rat. These rodents get inside, stay inside, and create large populations. We also have yard rodents, like Norway rats, squirrels, chipmunks, gophers, and voles. Of these, the Norway rats are the only pests that get into Chicago properties and explore every inch. Squirrels tend to stay in attic spaces. Chipmunks rarely get in, but when they do, they stick to basements and the first floor. Gophers and voles don't get in at all. They just create issues in the yard.

Today, we're going to take a look at these three rodent types and discuss a few key facts you should know about them. We'll also share some preventive measures to help you keep rodents in Chicago from damaging your property and making you sick. If you need immediate assistance, feel free to reach out to us and ask us about our residential pest control service options.

a rat on a bathroom sink

Yard Rodents

These rodents will cause you the least amount of trouble. When gophers, voles, or chipmunks come into your yard, they're going to damage your lawn, chew on the bark of trees, and damage the vegetation in your landscaping. They don't really have any interest in coming into your home. The methods for keeping gophers, voles, and chipmunks out of your yard are fairly straightforward but difficult to implement.

  • When gophers or voles feed on bark, you can prevent this behavior by putting metal skirting around the trees that are being targeted.

  • Chipmunks eat seeds. If you move bird feeders away from your home or remove them from your property, you can keep chipmunks from coming in close to your exterior. 

  • Most residents don't want to remove the plants that gophers and voles come to eat. You may, however, guard your plants by installing fences. Make sure your fences go at least a foot below the surface of the ground.

  • Chipmunks are strongly attracted to stacked wood and other organic materials. If you have woodpiles or scrap wood, move them away from your exterior and consider elevating them to get them off the ground. This will make that stacked wood a little less interesting.

  • Trapping is often the method used to stop these pests. We recommend hiring a licensed professional for this task.

Yard Rodents That Sometimes Become House Rodents

If you hear rodents in the attic, it is likely that you're hearing squirrels or roof rats. We hope it is squirrels you hear. Squirrels prefer to live in your yard but might get into your attic if outside conditions are not preferable, or when they find a way inside. It is not good to have rodents in the attic because squirrels and roof rats can chew on your wiring. This can lead to a house fire.

Another yard rodent that can become a house rodent is the Norway rat. These animals dig burrows and live in the ground. When they get into homes, they typically stay in cellars, basements, and on the first floor. They are, however, not limited to this behavior. They can explore every inch of your home. You can have some success in keeping yard rodents out of your home.

  • Trim branches away from your roofline, eaves, and soffits.

  • Install hardware cloth behind louvers.

  • Make sure all vents have proper covers.

  • Put wire mesh in your downspouts.

  • Apply something prickly to points where wires are connected to the exterior of your home.

  • Use metal flashing to bolster areas that are being gnawed.

  • Seal entry points in low areas, such as around pipes and wire conduits, to keep Norway rats out.

  • Move objects away from your exterior to reduce places Norway rats might hide.

  • Remove bird feeders.

  • If squirrels or Norway rats have gotten into your home, contact a licensed professional to have them removed before you seal the holes they've created. You don't want to trap them inside your home.

House Rodents

House mice and roof rats are the worst of the worst because these rodents prefer to live in man-made structures. Once they get in, it is difficult to convince them to go somewhere else. A house mouse or roof rat can live inside your home even if they're not able to find a single morsel of food. You can use all of the prevention tips above to deter house mice and roof rats. Unfortunately, your efforts are not likely to be enough. We strongly recommend investing in ongoing residential pest control services to keep house mice and roof rats out.

Need Help?

If you live in Chicago, you're in our service area. Let us guide you in setting up a residential pest control plan for your home, or a commercial pest control plan for your business. In light of the many ways these animals can cause harm, it is best to get professional control.


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